The DreamHost limits of *Everything*!


#1

Hi, I’m a cusomer of Dreamhost shared hosting for almost… 3 weeks.

Given we pay just 10 bucks a month (and as a new customer, thanks to promocodes even less!) I fully realize this service has some limits, and I may expect some stability issues from time to time.

I spoke extensively with support if they can name some limits, but they were reluctant to do it, maybe out of fear someone would make those public and use it as a black PR for DreamHost, or maybe that everyone would try to use the maximum of everything they’re quoted just to spite them, as was for some guys in the older days of shared hosting (“It says we have 500GB of disk space, and I have only 498GB, what’s the problem, waaah!”). That’s understandable they don’t want to give hard limits.

But, since in attempt to know how to be nice to the servers at DreamHost, I’ve started taking up too much resources from the human support at DreamHost! So I became not-so-nice, in attempt to be very nice. Hence why I came here, so I stop opening tickets asking questions maybe someone else would answer here.

So, older DreamHost customers: these question are for you. I want to know when did you hit some tentative limits with DreamHost and give general advice on when to limit resource usage, so to be nice to everyone else on the host. I know the answers will vary and they’re not meant to give canonical answers. But still, it’s so much better to know when you’re pushing the service and you can optimize or move some stuff off of it, so that everyone is happy, right?

The questions are:

  • When were you hinted at that you use too much disk space (as per ToS, i.e. you’re using it for the site, but it’s too much)?

  • When were you hinted at that you use too much bandwidth monthly?

  • When were you hinted at that you use too much bandwidth hourly/daily (spikes of traffic)?

  • What allotment of CPU and RAM is considered to be excessive and how do I check that?

  • LAST BUT NOT LEAST: What is the normal rate of tickets/chats you have with tech support yearly/monthly?

For any of these, of course, the less, the better. I personally have this habit of excessively exploring everything in the first days (which comes with lots of tickets) and then settle and stay quiet for months. How about you?


#2

Also, what is the configuration of your server? Mine’s pretty good! 8 cores (2 processors, 4 cores), 16GB of RAM and something like 4TB of diskspace.

That’s a pretty good server! I know for a fact DreamHost used to have quite smaller machines before, and of course they may still have those as they have hardly upgraded everybody at once.

When you discuss your experience, please let me know what are the general parameters of your server if you know them. Thanks!


#3

I can’t say as I’ve ever hit a DH limit, per say. Now, granted I’ve only had a tiny little handful of websites in my 4-year history, and only one of them was semi-stable (was mothballed for a year or two, then brought back to life), so I’m probably not their typical customer. Still, most of the limits keep on increasing so clearly they think they can support it. Or they don’t expect most people to hit it for doing something legal/within their terms.

Because everyone has an opinion.


#4

Also, re: your second question, I’m pretty sure most if not all the servers are fairly identical. Believe it or not, when a major upgrade’s planned, they usually do it in stages but fairly close together. Usually on a cluster by cluster basis over the course of a couple weeks.

Because everyone has an opinion.


#5

I can’t say that I have ever been told I’m using too much disk space. I’m on an older plan that you get so much more added to your total disk space and bandwidth allotment per week. Currently I’m at 520GB of disk space allowed and 10.27TB of bandwidth allowed per cycle. I doubt I will ever get anywhere near that amount.

Currently I host a few domains for other people and overall I’m at under 4GB of disk space. I don’t really monitor my bandwidth usage to see what is the norm for any of my sites but at one point one of my users was gobbling up 30GB/day. I never got a notice about it from DH. He has some sort of media gallery type software installed to his domain and he was uploading images from 3d items he had created for a portfolio and was uploading mp3 files for use on myspace (and people were hitting up my site to use those files on their profiles I guess). It had been like that for a couple of weeks (so he told me) before I noticed it myself and asked what the hell was going on (his usage is usually minimal and that was a huge increase from when I last glanced at it so…).

It isn’t so much the bandwidth or disk space you have to worry about, its how many cpu cycles you are using with whatever you have running on your domain really. I do remember getting a notice about them disabling access to one of my mysql databases that was being used for a phpbb installation. The spam bots had taken over and as mysql is shared as well, it was causing a problem for others. That was the only notice I recall receiving about them as far as usage concerns.

Also I don’t think I have ever submitted a ticket for anything and I have been with them since 2005. I’m not 100% certain but if I did, it must’ve been years ago. Sometimes there have been intermittent issues (usually mysql and webmail) but I check the blog when that happens and the status website to see if it is a known issue (and it usually is). I just ride out the storm without bothering them with trouble tickets.

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#6

That’s interesting. So if you’re an older customer you stay at whatever plan you signed up for.

What about cost. How much do you pay per month?


#7

I dont believe I’ve ever been notified of “Too Much” resources. I’ve had 30GB of files on my shared set (gaming maps and a gaming server log) and used 1.5TB of bandwidth in a month (same maps) without even a peep. The only time I’ve ever been notified is when a mysql db was being abused by an ultrastats install with 20GB log files. They notified me of the problem and even offered a possible solution (it cut times reading the DB from 250s to 10s due to a few indexes ultrastats was missing).

I had the old plan until they were putting the “unlimited” plans into beta, so i went ahead and shifted to it for amusement purposes. They give you a choice.

as of now, its 119/yr (first year was only 90 or so with a promo code, second year was 100 with a referral for 2 years paid).


#8

I have never run into any limits. As another poster said, if anything, it’ll be CPU load, which happens to people running large and/or inefficient sites.

There are other ToS issues, such as using your disk space as a personal backup, which is a no-no. You get the Backups User for this, with a limit of 50 gigs.

I submit a ticket every other month at the most. It’s either self-resolved, or quickly addressed by Support. It’s all been very minor issues.


#9

It seems strange to me that while people mention bandwidth and storage, and occasional CPU resources, nobody seems to think about RAM resources. With PHP and modern CMS systems with plugins and modules (Wordpress, Joomla, and Drupal being most prevalent in the DreamHost world), RAM is the single resource you are most likely to experience the limits of shared hosting.

Too many plugins, etc, and the footprint of that system becomes huge, and you can hit the limits of the amount of RAM you can use on a shared server without monopolizing the machine. This is avoidable with proper site optimization, and a reasonable use of plugins and module, and those who take this approach almost never have trouble.

However, it you use even a few poorly implemented plugins/modules, this is the limit you will most like hit, and the result will be Internal Service Errors displayed leaving “Premature end of script headers” littering your error logs.


#10

I’ve been with DH since 2005, and have never come close to any issues w/ limits. My sites have never seen huge amounts of traffic though, so I dunno how much that helps you.

What I do know though, is that they have addressed this issue before in the blog. I’d imaging you aren’t the only one to wonder about this:

It’s from 2006, so I dunno how much things have since changed but it’s worth a read anyway.

In terms of tickets, I’ve opened quite a few over the years but they’ve been mostly because something broke on my end because I’m running unsupported software. To that end they’ve been great, although they can’t officially offer help with a lot of things they’ve still been willing to take a glance on several occasions and give me a bit of advice or a quick suggestion.

To say it another way, it’s very rare that I open a ticket because of some problem that’s actually dreamhost’s fault. But it does happen of course, and if/when it does they’re usually very responsive. That’s been my experience anyway. I’ve heard others say they’ve had issues w/ support before but in my 5 years I have only good things to say about them, and I’ve contacted them a lot.


#11

Hmm, is there a “watch list” somewhere of plug-ins that can be problematic? Maybe not a “Hall of Shame” so much as a “Spend your RAM wisely and be sure to budget for these Big Spenders” sort of list?

Being a generally clueless user who recently converted a handful of sites to WordPress, I went through what I would expect to be a fairly typical orgy of learning about and trying various plug-ins as I blundered my way through setting them up. Is there a “Resource Hog-O-Meter” plug-in I can install to tell me how any given installation is doing? :slight_smile:

I’m on shoe-string budget so I have to make shared hosting work - I really want to be a good citizen while still making use of stuff like WP and EE and IPB and so on. I’m not a coder of any sort, but I do try to follow best practices when I’m aware of them and it’s something I can manage.

To the OPs line of inquiry, I’ve been at DH since 2002 and am very fond of the place. - I have been quarantined once for CPU usage. In the end it was sorted although I’m not sure it was ever determined what caused the spike. I got nothing but helpful help from DH. One other time one of my sites was failing spectacularly and after much agonizing troubleshooting a simple server reboot restored order to my world. My experience has been that DH has been reasonable in all things, and generous in many things. I haven’t reviewed my support history or anything, but I imagine I open one or two support tickets a year. Servers? I just had my accounts moved this week from my original servers from 2002 to new servers. Gosh, why do my sites seem a bit friskier this week :slight_smile:


#12

There is the beginnings of such a list on our wiki, embedded in the article at http://wiki.dreamhost.com/Wordpress_performance, but it is not by any means all inclusive. The support forums at http://wordpress.org/support are a good place to check for others’ opinions on problematic plugins, so you might want to check there (or google about for opinions).


#13

The wiki article is an excellent resource. Thanks for the pointer.


#14

You are most welcome! :slight_smile:


#15

(snicker, snicker) “Resource Hog-O-Meter” Thank you haggis. Love-ya (in a non-cannibal way of course)
For the rest I am a DreamHost customer much like you. I also started to research the WordPress 3.0 way and it is littered with interesting decisons to make.
Great, Robert that you directed us to this WordPress performance page. These are the plug-ins to avoid.
Thanks & Cheers from the city of tulips in NL.